Conlang Relay 22 in Tirëlat

Invent a language! Fight linguistic extinction... invent a language!

The torch

Su paxida jĕkattari

Su paxida jĕlarimun gi žaškari jĕzon.
Jĕkwexemin jĕruuku xë ŋaj swari mlav ašon.
My vitsa ren lĕxoja zušmin, të lĕžeğ mikun.
Su nağanawa nem u nox na žałpari sotun.

Të kejla diižu jaa su nawa kwažuzavemin.
Vymaramin my łaasalospa ław vykadzakin.
Vël dzemi da, su žeğ vë mex jĕnamağamikan.
Su nawa javi zyrmumin ma žeğ nin mixasaan.

Ža jez, su paxida jĕzyrmumiz maj swaridaj.
Vël so nja ğaaž na mii sy liprha baa jĕłekikaj.
Jĕližamiz vë žeğ my liprha. “Moo!” jĕladamin.
Të zjarimuz, ki maj jĕpjel su tëki žeğ jatin.

Ža vjaavimuz my liprha, jaa ma žeğ jĕjatimin.
Të jowkumin su žeğ, ma xoja zirakun ba trhin.
My ruuku kabikun, saj swari kattamin pizaj.
Jĕxumamin ma paxida, ro mumra moson ŋaj.

Word order

Normal word order in Tirëlat is subject-verb-object (SVO). Tirëlat has two kinds of intransitive verbs: stative verbs (sv), which typically precede the subject, and dynamic verbs (dv), which typically follow the subject. Adjectives and adverbs typically precede the words they modify. Prepositional phrases usually follow the words they modify. But many of these elements may be rearranged in different orders, especially in poetry.

A topic-comment structure is occasionally seen, where an unmarked noun (without an article) or a longer phrase is set apart from the rest of the sentence by a topic marker like the word “da”.

Nouns

Nouns are uninflected for case or number; a noun on its own can be singular or plural depending on context. In ordinary prose, an article at the start of the noun phrase indicates the case and number of the noun, but in poetic usage this article is frequently omitted. A sequence of nouns can form a compound (often written as a single word like “łaasalospa” or “nağanawa”).

A noun may have a possessive prefix such as “jĕ-” (his, her, or its). This prefix is obligatory with body parts such as “rim” (arm) or “pjel” (leg); you can’t talk about generic “arms”, you have to say “someone’s arms”. When one noun possesses another, the noun with the possessive prefix follows the possessor noun, e.g.

Verbs

Verbs in Tirëlat are inflected with personal pronoun prefixes and a series of different suffixes that indicate voice, mood, tense, and aspect. The uninflected dictionary form of a verb also doubles as an adjective, e.g.

Verb roots may also form compounds, e.g.

In this text, only third person nominative prefixes are used: “j-” or “jĕ-” (he, she, it) and “vy-” (they). The form “j-” is used when the verb starts with a vowel, “jĕ-” when a verb starts with a consonant.

Tirëlat has three voice suffixes: passive, middle and causative. The passive voice (-ru) is not used in this text. The middle voice (-mu) might better be called the “dynamic” voice; it takes a transitive verb or a stative verb and makes a dynamic (intransitive) verb out of it. The object of the transitive verb becomes the subject of the dynamic verb.

The causative voice (-ku) takes an intransitive verb and makes it transitive. The subject of the original verb corresponds to the direct object of the causative verb.

The optative mood (-ğa) expresses a wish.

Evidentiality and tense are marked with a single suffix. The two used in this text are -mi (inferential, past tense) and -ki (predictive, past tense). “Inferential” is the most common past tense, the one typically used in narration. The “predictive” evidential is used to describe future events (in the case of past tense, a relative future).

Double negatives are frequently seen when a negative word like “njuŋi” (never) is used with a verb that has the negative suffix -ka (not). These negative words simply reinforce the negative meaning; they don’t contradict each other (e.g. “never didn’t see” just means the same thing as “never saw”).

The final suffix on a verb is the aspect. The two basic aspects are perfective and imperfective; perfective marks completed actions or actions as a whole, while imperfective aspect is used for actions in progress or temporary conditions. The subjunctive form (-j) is also considered an aspect in Tirëlat; it is used in subordinate clauses, or to express situations that are uncertain or have not yet occurred.

Animals and plants

Tirëlat is spoken in an eastern region in the continent of Tavišantse on the planet Sarangia. The animals and plants there are unlike those of our world, although many of them have analogous forms. For example, the “žeğ”, the Sarangian equivalent of a dog, is actually more similar to dragons in some aspects. The “xoja”, a domesticated animal used for pulling loads, is most similar to a donkey but with some llama-like features. The “łaasa” plant produces berries that are brewed to produce a stimulating beverage served hot like coffee, and the “zyrëb” bush has thorny stems.

noun prefixes

j-, jĕ- (possessive) his, her, its.

noun suffixes

-daj (collective plural)

verb prefixes

j-, jĕ- he, she, it (subject). vy- they.

verb suffixes

-ğa- (optative); wish ... -j (subjunctive). -ka- (negative). -ki- (predictive, past) -ku- (causative) -mi- (inferential, past) -mu- (middle) -n (perfective) -ri (verbal noun; -ing, -ion [action, event]) -z (imperfective)

Vocabulary

adj adjective
adv adverb
art article
cn countable noun
conj conjunction
dv dynamic verb
int interjection
prep preposition
pron pronoun
un uncountable noun
sv stative verb
v verb
vt transitive verb

ašon (un) disorder, chaos.
ba (prep) like, as, in the manner of.
baa (adv) none, not at all.
da (conj) (topic marker / sequential conjunction) since, as; if (in conditional phrases).
diižu (cn) time, duration, period, interval.
dzemi (cn) host.
gi (prep) +GEN about, concerning, pertaining to, for, as for.
ğaaž (cn) a time, instance, occasion, case.
jaa (pron, adj) that, those; (object of locative verb) there. (int) ah! oh!
jati (vt) to hit, strike, collide.
javi (adv) so, therefore, then.
je (v) do (substitutes for a previously referenced verb).
kabi (sv) overturned, upset, over.
kadza (vt) to eat.
katta (dv) to fall.
kejla (prep) after; in (an interval of time).
ki (prep) +LOC toward, at (in the direction of); +ACC to.
kumbu (sv) full (filled up).
kwažu (sv) hungry.
kwexe (vt) to pack, stuff
lada (vt) to say, speak, utter.
lari (sv) ready.
larimu (dv) to prepare (oneself).
liprha (cn) rope
liža (vt) to see (perceive visually).
lospa (cn) bar, tavern.
łaasa (cn) a stimulating drink, brewed and served hot (analogous to coffee).
ław (conj) in order to.
łeki (sv) to suffice; enough, sufficient, adequate.
ma (art) (accusative singular, animate)
maj (art) (accusative plural)
mara (vt) to visit.
mex (cn) inside, interior.
mii (pron) him, her (obj. case of “ži”).
miku (vt) to follow, chase.
mixa (cn) bush, shrub.
mlav (prep) like, similar to.
moo (int) aha!
moso (dv) to roll, tumble.
mumra (cn) thorn, spine.
my (art) (accusative singular, inanimate)
na (art) to, for (dative sing.)
nağa (cn) farm.
nama (sv) to be (located) at, in, on (a place).
nawa (cn) immature male, boy.
nem (prep) +GEN along, down.
nin (prep) +GEN attached to; on (a wall, etc).
nja (adj) this, these.
nox (cn) road, street.
ŋaj (adj) all, every.
owku (dv) to bark (like a dog, etc.)
paxida (cn) seller, vendor, merchant.
pizaj (adv) away.
pjel (cn) leg (anat.), walking limb.
ren (prep) +LOC on, upon. +ACC onto.
ro (prep) +LOC to, toward, into.
ruuku (cn) cart, carriage, wagon.
saan (cn) foot (body part).
saj (art) (nominative plural)
so (prep) +LOC at, on (moment in time), by (day, night).
sotu (dv) to ask (a favor), request.
su (art) (nominative singular, animate)
swari (cn) merchandise.
sy (art) (nominative singular, inanimate)
(conj) and (joins two verbs), then, after.
tëki (dv) to run (move rapidly), race.
trhin (cn) bomb
u (art) (genitive sing.)
(art) (locative, singular); (prep) at, in (place).
vël (conj) but, yet, still, however.
vitsa (cn) harness.
vjaavi (vi) to swing, rock, sway.
(prep) +GEN with (having); at, on.
xoja (cn) a domesticated animal used for pulling loads.
xuma (vt) to push.
zave (vt) to become.
zira (vt) to fear, be afraid of.
ziraku (vt) to scare, frighten.
zjari (sv) free, unrestrained.
zjarimu (dv) to get free, break free.
zon (cn) trip, journey.
zuš (tv) to put, place.
zyrmu (tv) to tie, bind.
ža (prep) +LOC during, for; (conj) while, as, in.
žałpa (vt) to ride.
žaška (vt) to trade.
žeğ (cn) a domesticated carnivore (analogous to a dog).

Smooth English translation of the Tirëlat text

The merchant’s fall

A merchant prepared for a trade journey.
He packed his cart with all merchandise in disorder.
A harness upon his donkey he placed, and his dog followed.
A farmboy along the road asked for a ride.

Then after a while that boy became hungry.
They visited a coffee bar in order to eat.
But the host did not want to have a dog inside.
So the boy tied the dog to the base of a bush.

While he was doing that, the merchant was tying the merchandise.
But this time for him the rope was not at all sufficient.
He saw on the dog the rope. “Aha!” he said.
And breaking free, to his legs the running dog collided.

As the rope swung, it hit the dog.
And the dog barked, scaring the donkey like a bomb.
The cart being overturned, the merchandise fell away.
It pushed the merchant, all rolling into thorns.

The poetic form is a series of four-line stanzas. Each stanza contains a pair of rhymed couplets in iambic heptameter: 14 syllables, alternating weak and strong, a pattern called “teliłarad” in Tirëlat.